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 Post subject: Three Trapped in Kentucky Mine Freed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:14 pm 
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
MIDDLESBORO, Ky.—Three men trapped all day Monday in a coal mine flooded by overnight rains were freed and appear to be in good health, authorities said, after being trapped for 14 hours in a southeastern Kentucky mine.

Dick Brown, spokesman for the state energy and environment cabinet, said the men were freed Monday about 8:30 p.m.

The three, identified as Parnell Witherspoon, Doug Warren and Russell Asher, had been on dry ground about 500 feet from the mine entrance since getting caught in the mine at 6:40 a.m. when officials say a collapse at the entrance sent water from a swollen drainage ditch gushing in.

The men were nearing the end of their shift when it happened, said Eddie Starks, an MSHA official. Starks said the men used their helmet-mounted headlamps one at a time to conserve power.

The men had been communicating regularly with rescuers, said Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere. The mine is owned by Richmond, Va.-based James River Coal and operated by Bell County Coal.

One member of each miner's family was taken to the site to talk to the men via underground phone, Ms. Louviere said.

Crews were pumping 1,100 gallons of water per minute from the Jellico No. 1 mine and an additional power center was being set up to run more pumps, Louviere said. By early evening, the water had dropped 18 to 24 inches.

Mr. Brown said the miners would likely be examined at a hospital before being allowed to go home.

A ditch above the entrance collapsed when a piece of the mine's roof fell early morning and water rushed in, officials said.

Bell County Coal started operations there Jan. 23, 2009, according to MSHA records.

The mine, one of four Bell County Coal has listed with MSHA, has been cited 32 times during inspections that started in April, according to records. The company has been cited a total of 82 times since 2009 for a variety of reasons, from inadequate roof supports to accumulating dust to issues with the electrical system. The company has been assessed fines from $100 to as nearly $4,000, but is contesting nearly three-quarters of the citations.

Tony Oppegard, a Lexington attorney who specializes in mine safety, said those trapped in a mine with water coming in would normally head for the highest point. If James River Coal put a refuge chamber in the mine, that would give the miners a place to go with enough provisions for 72 hours, Mr. Oppegard said.

"There's been a great increase in mine rescue teams since the disasters of the last several years," Mr. Oppegard said.

Kentucky is the lone state where mine inspectors also comprise the rescue squads, meaning the people searching for those trapped should already be familiar with the terrain, Mr. Oppegard said.

James River Coal has an in-house rescue squad, whose members should be familiar with the mine, Mr. Oppegard said.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:49 pm
Posts: 87
Location: tennessee
i have some friends that are on the mine rescue team with me that work at that mine, and ive been there several times, its a very good mine... well laid out and maintained. they are expecting to be back on coal in a couple weeks.

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